Sonduttee. Stone with inscription. [Saundatti.]
Photographer: Pigou, William Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of an inscribed stone slab from Saundatti in Karnataka, taken by William Henry Pigou in 1856, from Taylor and Fergusson's 'Architecture in Dharwar and Mysore'. Saundatti, near Belgaum in Karnataka, was once the capital of the Rattas, before they shifted to Belgaum in the 12th century. The town is one of Karnataka's most famous pilgrimage sites because of its temple to the powerful goddess Yellamma. A form of Devi, the mother goddess, Yellamma is particularly known for the cult of the devadasi associated with her temples. Devadasis, 'female servants of the god', were young girls dedicated to temples in India, the custom being particularly prevalent in the south. The custom led to many practices which devalued the girls until they were reduced to the role of prostitute to the devotees, and efforts are being made in modern India to eradicate it. The image is described as 'the Sanskrit and Kanarese inscription slab of Krishna Rastrakuta, Shaka 797
(c. 875), and Vikramaditya, Shaka 1017 (c. 1095 A.D).'